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Visually guided decision making in foraging honeybees.

Zhang S, Si A, Pahl M - Front Neurosci (2012)

Bottom Line: The trained animals learn how to solve a task, and do so with a high accuracy, but when they are presented with a new variation of the task, they apply the learnt rules from the earlier setup to the new situation, and solve the new task as well.Honeybees therefore not only feature a rich behavioral repertoire to choose from, but also make decisions most apt to the current situation.The experiments in this review give an insight into the environmental cues and cognitive resources that are probably highly significant for a forager bee that must continually make decisions regarding patches of resources to be exploited.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre of Excellence in Vision Science, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University Canberra, ACT, Australia.

ABSTRACT
Honeybees can easily be trained to perform different types of discrimination tasks under controlled laboratory conditions. This review describes a range of experiments carried out with free-flying forager honeybees under such conditions. The research done over the past 30 or so years suggests that cognitive abilities (learning and perception) in insects are more intricate and flexible than was originally imagined. It has become apparent that honeybees are capable of a variety of visually guided tasks, involving decision making under challenging situations: this includes simultaneously making use of different sensory modalities, such as vision and olfaction, and learning to use abstract concepts such as "sameness" and "difference." Many studies have shown that decision making in foraging honeybees is highly flexible. The trained animals learn how to solve a task, and do so with a high accuracy, but when they are presented with a new variation of the task, they apply the learnt rules from the earlier setup to the new situation, and solve the new task as well. Honeybees therefore not only feature a rich behavioral repertoire to choose from, but also make decisions most apt to the current situation. The experiments in this review give an insight into the environmental cues and cognitive resources that are probably highly significant for a forager bee that must continually make decisions regarding patches of resources to be exploited.

No MeSH data available.


Training in a zig-zag maze and transfer test in an augmented zig-zag maze. (A) Configuration of the augmented zig-zag maze, with an additional cylinder. (B) Histogram showing performance at each decision cylinder. Adapted from Zhang et al. (2000). Details in text.
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Figure 7: Training in a zig-zag maze and transfer test in an augmented zig-zag maze. (A) Configuration of the augmented zig-zag maze, with an additional cylinder. (B) Histogram showing performance at each decision cylinder. Adapted from Zhang et al. (2000). Details in text.

Mentions: Bees were tested in a maze similar to that of Figure 5B, but in which a special chamber (chamber 5) was added in the middle, as shown in Figure 7A. However, this new chamber had only one exit, diametrically opposite to the entrance, so that the bees could not choose “left” or “right” while passing through it. The question here was: how would the bees behave in the next chamber (chamber 7), given that they had made a left turn in the previous chamber (chamber 5). The tests (Figure 7B) revealed that the bees showed a clear tendency to turn left in chamber 7. This implies that they had treated chamber 5 as though they had made a right turn in it, even though it was a “dummy” chamber that offered no turning choice. Evidently, in applying the zig-zag rule, even dummy chambers are treated as valid ones.


Visually guided decision making in foraging honeybees.

Zhang S, Si A, Pahl M - Front Neurosci (2012)

Training in a zig-zag maze and transfer test in an augmented zig-zag maze. (A) Configuration of the augmented zig-zag maze, with an additional cylinder. (B) Histogram showing performance at each decision cylinder. Adapted from Zhang et al. (2000). Details in text.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3376410&req=5

Figure 7: Training in a zig-zag maze and transfer test in an augmented zig-zag maze. (A) Configuration of the augmented zig-zag maze, with an additional cylinder. (B) Histogram showing performance at each decision cylinder. Adapted from Zhang et al. (2000). Details in text.
Mentions: Bees were tested in a maze similar to that of Figure 5B, but in which a special chamber (chamber 5) was added in the middle, as shown in Figure 7A. However, this new chamber had only one exit, diametrically opposite to the entrance, so that the bees could not choose “left” or “right” while passing through it. The question here was: how would the bees behave in the next chamber (chamber 7), given that they had made a left turn in the previous chamber (chamber 5). The tests (Figure 7B) revealed that the bees showed a clear tendency to turn left in chamber 7. This implies that they had treated chamber 5 as though they had made a right turn in it, even though it was a “dummy” chamber that offered no turning choice. Evidently, in applying the zig-zag rule, even dummy chambers are treated as valid ones.

Bottom Line: The trained animals learn how to solve a task, and do so with a high accuracy, but when they are presented with a new variation of the task, they apply the learnt rules from the earlier setup to the new situation, and solve the new task as well.Honeybees therefore not only feature a rich behavioral repertoire to choose from, but also make decisions most apt to the current situation.The experiments in this review give an insight into the environmental cues and cognitive resources that are probably highly significant for a forager bee that must continually make decisions regarding patches of resources to be exploited.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre of Excellence in Vision Science, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University Canberra, ACT, Australia.

ABSTRACT
Honeybees can easily be trained to perform different types of discrimination tasks under controlled laboratory conditions. This review describes a range of experiments carried out with free-flying forager honeybees under such conditions. The research done over the past 30 or so years suggests that cognitive abilities (learning and perception) in insects are more intricate and flexible than was originally imagined. It has become apparent that honeybees are capable of a variety of visually guided tasks, involving decision making under challenging situations: this includes simultaneously making use of different sensory modalities, such as vision and olfaction, and learning to use abstract concepts such as "sameness" and "difference." Many studies have shown that decision making in foraging honeybees is highly flexible. The trained animals learn how to solve a task, and do so with a high accuracy, but when they are presented with a new variation of the task, they apply the learnt rules from the earlier setup to the new situation, and solve the new task as well. Honeybees therefore not only feature a rich behavioral repertoire to choose from, but also make decisions most apt to the current situation. The experiments in this review give an insight into the environmental cues and cognitive resources that are probably highly significant for a forager bee that must continually make decisions regarding patches of resources to be exploited.

No MeSH data available.